I could eat pasta every day. I mean really - I can't get enough of it. After we got our Kitchenaid pasta roller attachment we made homemade pasta almost every day for two weeks (I still haven't figured out how I don't weigh 300 pounds). I'm always looking to try new things, especially in the kitchen, so I started doing a little research on variations of pasta. You can make red wine pasta dough, fresh herb pasta dough, lemon zest pasta dough - whatever you have kicking around your kitchen can probably be added to pasta dough. I decided to start with chocolate - well, cocoa - because a) we had some, b) it's powdered so I thought it would incorporate well with the flour and c) I thought the visual of dark chocolate coloured pasta would be really neat!!
Mike, the chef of the restaurant I work at, gave me the recipe that Sean and I use to make dough. I took a look in our fridge to see what we had on hand that I could use in a stuffed pasta. There were two chicken thighs that Sean had roasted the night before, some Philly Cream Cheese, a bag of unsalted, shelled pistachios I got at The Mid-East Food Centre on Agricola, some fresh rosemary and Romano cheese that our friends Jason and Erin had brought over when we were cooking together a few nights before and some applewood smoked bacon.
I pulled everything out of the fridge and laid it out on my counter and decided, yup, this was going to be delicious!! Because we make ice cream often, we always have 35% whipping cream in the house and so I decided to make a cream sauce flavoured with nutmeg - the perfect compliment to the chicken/bacon filling and the pistachios.
We have a 3.5 cup Kitchenaid Chef's Chopper food processor, so I cut Mike's recipe for dough in half and usually make it in two batches. Here is the recipe for the half batch amount:
~ 1.5 cups '00' flour (a fine Italian flour perfect for making pasta - available at The Italian Market for $2.99 a bag)
~ 2 eggs + enough water to make 1/2 Cup
~ drizzle of Olive Oil
~ pinch of salt
Of course this time I also added cocoa powder!! (about 1/2 Cup) Whiz it all together in the food processor for about 30 seconds.
Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 8 -10 minutes.
After kneading, your dough should be silky smooth. Once you think you have the right texture, wrap the dough in Saran and let it rest for about 20 minutes.
While the dough was resting, I made the filling.
I fried the bacon until crispy and then sauteed half an onion in some of the bacon drippings (oh my arteries!!). I took the skin off of the chicken thighs and tossed it, along with the bacon in the food processor and whizzed until finely crumbled. I chopped the rosemary and added it to the bacon and chicken in a large bowl, along with the sauteed onion and a few large dollops of cream cheese.
Mix together and voila!! Pasta filling!!
At this point, my dough was ready for rolling. If you do not have a pasta roller, you can roll the dough out by hand but it takes longer and is less consistent (unless you are an Italian mama that has been making pasta for 30 years!! - trust me, get a pasta roller). I cut the dough ball into four pieces and rolled each one out into a sheet,
and then I cut the sheets into small circles with a biscuit cutter. I took some of the chicken/bacon/cream cheese filling and rolled into a ball, about the size of a small meatball,
then I laid another circle on top and pinched the edges together super tight - you don't want any water getting inside of your pasta!!
Put a large pot of salted water on to boil and while you're waiting, make your sauce. I reduced about 2 Cups of whipping cream and then seasoned it with salt, pepper and nutmeg. So easy!! At this point, I also decided to toast my pistachios in a dry pan in order to bring out another layer of flavour.
When the water comes to a boil, you just gently add the pasta. After about 2 minutes, it will start to float - take it out it's done!! I added my cooked pasta to my cream sauce, sprinkled it liberally with the toasted pistachios and the grated Romano cheese and topped it off with a sprig of fresh rosemary.
I have to admit, I was a little disappointed because I couldn't actually TASTE the cocoa in the pasta dough - I think there were just too many other flavours at play, but the rich dark chocolate coloured dough LOOKED amazing. And so what if I couldn't taste the cocoa? I mean let's get real - it was filled with chicken, bacon and cheese.
Decadence factor = 100%